Many attorneys describe themselves as “full-service lawyers,” which means that they dispense all manner of expertise and assistance when providing legal services to clients. In the competitive legal marketplace, many clients want to know that they can call their lawyers night and day and have their lawyers go above and beyond in order to ensure that a client’s needs are satisfied. This often requires a lawyer to complete a number of nonlegal tasks in unique ways.
Throughout my career, I’ve had to complete a number of nonlegal tasks to ensure that the best legal representation was provided to a client. For instance, a few years ago, I had a personal injury matter, and my client was scheduled for an independent medical examination. I gave the name and address of the examiner to my client, and I thought that my client would be fine to make her way to and from the appointment.
However, a few days before the appointment, my client told me that her car broke down and that she would not be able to drive herself to the appointment. The appointment was kind of far from my client’s house, so it would not have been practical to use a ride-share service to get to and from the appointment. Because of the situation, I told my client that I would drive her to and from the appointment. This seemed like the most practical option, and I had to make sure that my client successfully attended the appointment.
This ended up being a pretty intense trip. I delivered my client to the appointment okay, but I had to wait in the waiting room for well over an hour while my client was seen by the examiner. During this time, work kept piling up as other clients reached out to me about their legal needs. On the way back, there was a huge crash on the highway, and we were stopped on the road for an incredible amount of time. Finally, several hours after the trip began, I dropped my client off at her house before I made my way home. However, the successful medical examination of my client was important to the case, and my efforts ensured that my client made it to the appointment and back with as few complications as possible.
Another time, I was handling a closing for a client, and my client was not in the area where the closing was to take place. Even though most closings at this time occurred virtually, this closing was happening in person, and my client wanted me to appear personally to pick up the client’s check. I did not know why the client would not just permit the check to be mailed to her after the closing was completed, but I obliged the client and attended the closing in person.
This ended up being a bigger ordeal than I expected. I had a difficult time finding parking, which added a considerable amount of stress and time to the experience. I then had to sit through the closing with little to do for nearly an hour, which is time I could have used on other matters. Finally, after the closing took place, I obtained the check, and I later mailed the check to my client as she wished. The client seemed to know that attending the closing in person required a considerable amount of effort, and I am sure she appreciate the consideration.
Still another time during COVID-19, I had to go above and beyond in order to be a full-service lawyer for my client. I had a client who needed to be deposed but had difficulty with technology. The client was unsure if he would be able to use Zoom in order to attend the deposition, and he preferred that I travel to his house in order for both of us to attend the deposition virtually. I had some reservations about this because of fears concerning COVID-19, but I obliged my client, and traveled to his home to be present for the deposition.
My client lived in an area that was subject to an extreme amount of rush-hour traffic so the trip took nearly two hours. Once I was at my client’s home, I interacted with his family before and during the deposition. Afterward, I needed to take an equally long trip home. However, the client seemed like he appreciated the effort, and traveling to be with the client during his deposition definitely made the deposition go more smoothly.
All told, “full-service” lawyers often need to complete a number of nonlegal tasks in order to ensure that a legal representation is as successful as possible. However, such efforts can help build relationships with client and show clients that attorneys will go above and beyond when providing legal services.
Jordan Rothman is a partner of The Rothman Law Firm, a full-service New York and New Jersey law firm. He is also the founder of Student Debt Diaries, a website discussing how he paid off his student loans. You can reach Jordan through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.